New Dublin theater to raise curtains on big shows

Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:19pm EST
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By Barbara Lewis

DUBLIN (Reuters Life!) - No matter whether it's boom-time or bust, the show must go on -- and to prove it Dublin is about to open a brand new 2,000-seat theater, designed by one of the world's most prominent architects.

The curtain will go up on March 18 at the Grand Canal Theater for a performance of Swan Lake by the Russian State Ballet.

With a budget of 80 million euros ($109.3 million), the commercially backed new theater is a bold contrast to the state sector, which has been hit by funding cuts announced by the government as part of its December austerity plan.

Tickets for the opening night sold out far in advance and theater executives say they are certain there will be continued demand even as the Irish economy struggles to return to growth and unemployment climbs.

"It's one of the last things they (people) look at cutting out. It's not a constant cost," Mike Adamson, CEO of events company LiveNation Ireland, which is operating the new theater, told Reuters.

"I'm very confident of an audience. The product will speak for itself."

He argued Dublin's illustrious Gate and Abbey theatres, among those affected by reduced state sector funding, had always left a gap in the market for large-scale productions with big audiences to justify the cost.

In the 1990s, as head of a Dublin concert venue, then called The Point, now the O2, Adamson said he was constantly asked about the possibility of staging ballets, operas and musicals in the city.   Continued...